Ludwig Pollak (Prague 1868-Auschwitz 1943), born in Prague and Roman by adoption, has been a preeminent archaeologist, a fine connoisseur and an art dealer between the end of the XIXth c. and the first decades of the XXth c. His mother’s family, descendent from Sephardic Jews living in Prague for centuries, had a preminent role in Ludwig’s cultural and religious education, so that at the end of his studies he became a significant example of professional skilled in many activities related to a deep and passionate knowledge of artworks belonging to the Greek and Roman antiquity until the Renaissance. He moved to Italy for the first time in 1891, when he had the chance to visit the main Italian capital art cities, including Rome, where, two years later, he decided to live as if it was his second home. At the beginning of his roman life he decided to deepen his classical studies at the German Archaeological Institute, he then started to make deeper and deeper researches on artworks as from the Classical and Imperial Roman period as from the Middle Ages and the Renaissance. He also became a well-known museum curator and an expert trading advisor in artworks. Roman amateurs and collectors – among them Prince Del Drago, the antique dealer Augusto Castellani and the Senator Giovanni Barracco – very soon appreciated Pollak’s talent in recognizing artworks of different periods, a basic starting point not only to place them in a correct time and stylistic frame, but also to suggest a weighted economic value, so far as those precious objects had been sold on the national or international market, as it often happened. Thanks to his uncommon connoisseurship Ludwig Pollak was entrusted to write several catalogues of prestigious private collections and to buy and sell different kind of artworks to some of the richest collectors of his time. Among them we could certainly remember Carl Jacobsen, the Carlsberg breweries’ owner and founder of the Ny Carlsberg Gliptotek in Copenaghen, John Pierpont Morgan, the American tycoon, the Russian Earl Grigorij Stroganoff and the Grand Duke John Albert of Mecklenburg-Schwerin. The eminent archaeologist was in close relationship also with the NY Metropolitan Museum’s agents, such as John Marshall, and with prominent Jewish art dealers and collectors, such as the antique dealer Jacob Seligmann and the banker Edmond de Rothschild, both living in Paris. We can certainly add to their names other distinguished Jews such as Jacob Hirsch, Henriette Hertz, James Simon, Henry Oppenheimer, Sir Israel Gollancz, Sigmund Freud and Adolf Goldschmidt. For more than twenty years Ludwig Pollak had also been Wilhelm von Bode close counsellor and friend, the effective general director of the Kaiser Fiedrich Museum in Berlin, managing Bode’s art dealing affairs on the Roman market from 1902 to 1929; thanks to Pollak’s close contacts with many romans antique dealers, we know for example that he was able to purchase for the Berliner Museum some fine early Christian sarcophagus, fragments of early medieval architectural sculpture and some Byzantine artworks, nowadays preserved in the Byzantine Department of Bode Museum. This spread of interests meant an enlargement also for Pollak’s collecting taste whose private collection was then enriched with medieval sculptures, paintings and illuminated codes – such as a famous Spanish Haggadà of the XIVth c. My speech for the workshop on Jewish Dealers and the European Art Market 1850-1930 would have a focus on the study of the success, both commercial and in taste, of the medieval artworks in the Italian and international art market between the end of the XIXth c. and the beginning of the XXth c. For this purpose I suggest to analyse Ludwig Pollak as a preeminent example of the multi-faceted personalities of the art market of that time, very skilful in building strong relationships with several European and American art market protagonists up to become the official counsellor in Rome for the artworks trade of some of the main international collectors and Museum curators, without forgetting his deep study activity and collecting taste for medieval artworks. Unfortunately his deep experience and knowledge haven’t been able to save Ludwig and his family from the Nazi-Fascist deportation from the Rome ghetto in October 1943.

Ludwig Pollak, Wilhelm Von Bode and Sir Denis Mahon. Art dealing between Rome, Berlin and Great Britain in the first decades of the XX Century / De Giambattista, Federica. - (2021). ((Intervento presentato al convegno Jewish Art Dealers and the European Art Market (1850-1930) tenutosi a On line.

Ludwig Pollak, Wilhelm Von Bode and Sir Denis Mahon. Art dealing between Rome, Berlin and Great Britain in the first decades of the XX Century.

FEDERICA DE GIAMBATTISTA
2021

Abstract

Ludwig Pollak (Prague 1868-Auschwitz 1943), born in Prague and Roman by adoption, has been a preeminent archaeologist, a fine connoisseur and an art dealer between the end of the XIXth c. and the first decades of the XXth c. His mother’s family, descendent from Sephardic Jews living in Prague for centuries, had a preminent role in Ludwig’s cultural and religious education, so that at the end of his studies he became a significant example of professional skilled in many activities related to a deep and passionate knowledge of artworks belonging to the Greek and Roman antiquity until the Renaissance. He moved to Italy for the first time in 1891, when he had the chance to visit the main Italian capital art cities, including Rome, where, two years later, he decided to live as if it was his second home. At the beginning of his roman life he decided to deepen his classical studies at the German Archaeological Institute, he then started to make deeper and deeper researches on artworks as from the Classical and Imperial Roman period as from the Middle Ages and the Renaissance. He also became a well-known museum curator and an expert trading advisor in artworks. Roman amateurs and collectors – among them Prince Del Drago, the antique dealer Augusto Castellani and the Senator Giovanni Barracco – very soon appreciated Pollak’s talent in recognizing artworks of different periods, a basic starting point not only to place them in a correct time and stylistic frame, but also to suggest a weighted economic value, so far as those precious objects had been sold on the national or international market, as it often happened. Thanks to his uncommon connoisseurship Ludwig Pollak was entrusted to write several catalogues of prestigious private collections and to buy and sell different kind of artworks to some of the richest collectors of his time. Among them we could certainly remember Carl Jacobsen, the Carlsberg breweries’ owner and founder of the Ny Carlsberg Gliptotek in Copenaghen, John Pierpont Morgan, the American tycoon, the Russian Earl Grigorij Stroganoff and the Grand Duke John Albert of Mecklenburg-Schwerin. The eminent archaeologist was in close relationship also with the NY Metropolitan Museum’s agents, such as John Marshall, and with prominent Jewish art dealers and collectors, such as the antique dealer Jacob Seligmann and the banker Edmond de Rothschild, both living in Paris. We can certainly add to their names other distinguished Jews such as Jacob Hirsch, Henriette Hertz, James Simon, Henry Oppenheimer, Sir Israel Gollancz, Sigmund Freud and Adolf Goldschmidt. For more than twenty years Ludwig Pollak had also been Wilhelm von Bode close counsellor and friend, the effective general director of the Kaiser Fiedrich Museum in Berlin, managing Bode’s art dealing affairs on the Roman market from 1902 to 1929; thanks to Pollak’s close contacts with many romans antique dealers, we know for example that he was able to purchase for the Berliner Museum some fine early Christian sarcophagus, fragments of early medieval architectural sculpture and some Byzantine artworks, nowadays preserved in the Byzantine Department of Bode Museum. This spread of interests meant an enlargement also for Pollak’s collecting taste whose private collection was then enriched with medieval sculptures, paintings and illuminated codes – such as a famous Spanish Haggadà of the XIVth c. My speech for the workshop on Jewish Dealers and the European Art Market 1850-1930 would have a focus on the study of the success, both commercial and in taste, of the medieval artworks in the Italian and international art market between the end of the XIXth c. and the beginning of the XXth c. For this purpose I suggest to analyse Ludwig Pollak as a preeminent example of the multi-faceted personalities of the art market of that time, very skilful in building strong relationships with several European and American art market protagonists up to become the official counsellor in Rome for the artworks trade of some of the main international collectors and Museum curators, without forgetting his deep study activity and collecting taste for medieval artworks. Unfortunately his deep experience and knowledge haven’t been able to save Ludwig and his family from the Nazi-Fascist deportation from the Rome ghetto in October 1943.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11573/1593515
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